New School For Children With Autism Opens In Burr Ridge, IL

Soaring Eagle Academy, a school for children with Autism and related disorders, announced that it has opened in Burr Ridge, Illinois. It is the first school in the Midwest to offer an innovative teaching model called DIR® /Floortime, which has been used successfully in other parts of the country. The school offers fresh strategies and brings hope to families who are searching for new ways to educate their child with Autism.

“Our educational model has never been offered in a Midwest school before,” said Deanna Tyrpak, President of the Board of Soaring Eagle Academy. “The principles we follow are used extensively in private therapy clinics throughout the Chicagoland area, as well as in schools in other parts of the country. This is the first time a school following Illinois Learning Standards as well as a DIR®/Floortime curriculum has been available to Chicago area children and their families.”

The DIR® /Floortime philosophy is based on the belief that individuals with Autism have great potential for interacting, communicating and thinking. Long-term studies support the effectiveness of its innovative strategies. Each child is respected as an individual and a unique curriculum is developed for each student, based on their own natural interests, developmental level and therapeutic goals. Students are cared for physically, intellectually, socially and emotionally while engaged in meaningful learning.

The public is invited to attend Soaring Eagle’s Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and Open House on Saturday, December 4, 2010 from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon. Tours of the school will be given and attendees will have an opportunity to speak directly with school founders and staff. The school is located at 8320 S. Madison Street in Burr Ridge, Illinois.


Soaring Eagle Academy

Partnership Reaches Women Most At-Risk For HIV/AIDS

Recognizing the critical need to bring evidence-based HIV/AIDS prevention programs to communities where women are at highest risk for infection, the National AIDS Fund, in partnership with Johnson & Johnson, today announced the second set of grants to address the unique needs of women and girls susceptible to contracting HIV/AIDS. The announcement was made in connection with the second annual National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (March 10th).

Under the program, GENERATIONS II: Strengthening Women and Families Affected by HIV/AIDS, the new grantswill support nine community-based organizations that are developing innovative interventions or adapting proven prevention models for specific populations of women and girls at high-risk for infection. The grants will reach the most vulnerable and hard to reach populations including African-American and Latina women who do not perceive themselves to be at risk for HIV, homeless and runaway girls, injection drug users and incarcerated women.

The new grants build onthe earlier work of the pioneering partnership between the National AIDS Fund and Johnson & Johnson, launched in 2005 in response to the alarming escalation of HIV/AIDS infection among women in the United States, and named to recognize women’s roles in anchoring the lives around them.

“The physical, emotional, financial and social tolls of HIV/AIDS are profound for all women,” said Kandy Ferree, president and chief executive officer of the National AIDS Fund. “However, there are certain groups whose needs are often overlooked especially in the U.S., where the epidemic is often mistakenly considered under control and it is our hope that these grants will make great strides in reducing new HIV infections and empowering the most vulnerable women among us.”

A Growing Threat to Women’s and Family Health

In the U.S., the percentage of women diagnosed with HIV/AIDS has more than tripled since 1985. Girls between the ages of 13 and 19 now represent 57 percent of new HIV infections1, and infection rates are also exceptionally high among minority populations. Women of color account for 80 percent of all women estimated to be living with AIDS2.

A generational “ripple effect” takes place when a woman is infected with or affected by HIV/AIDS. Many women are solely responsible for the care and financial support of children and other family members, which may prevent them from taking care of themselves. Further, orphaned children will need care from extended family or foster parents.

“Around the world, women are becoming the face of HIV/AIDS,” said Sharon D’Agostino, vice president, Corporate Contributions and Community Relations at Johnson & Johnson. “With the National AIDS Fund, we are committed to identifying evidence-based interventions that will effectively prevent HIV infection among at-risk populations of women and girls in the U.S. and to helping replicate these models nationwide in hopes of turning the tide against the feminization of AIDS.”

New Grants Build on Earlier Success

Historically, many evidence-based intervention programs have focused on men or a small percentage of minority women, but the GENERATIONS program is unique in its scope and approach to the needs of women. GENERATIONS II grants will make possible a broad range of evidence-based prevention programs that will be closely monitored and evaluated for replication in other areas and high-risk groups. The following projects will receive support through 2009:

– Asian Pacific AIDS Intervention Team (APAIT), Los Angeles, CA APAIT will adapt a culturally and linguistically appropriate prevention intervention program for monolingual Mandarin and Cantonese-speaking immigrant women working in massage parlors.

– Centerforce, San Rafael, CA Through Live, Love & Learn, peer health educators will conduct outreach to women visiting incarcerated loved ones at San Quentin State Prison to reduce the incidence of HIV infection when their male partners, who could be HIV-positive, are released.

– Women Organized to Respond to Life-Threatening Diseases (WORLD), Oakland, CA African-American and Latina women and girls will receive HIV education and risk reduction interventions from HIV-positive women who serve as models of taking control of one’s life and relationships.

– Positive Impact, Atlanta, GA Project PREPARE (Persons Readying to Exit Prison Able Ready and Empowered) will conduct workshops on condom negotiation, building self-esteem, and prevention of physical, sexual, and substance abuse for incarcerated women in a pre-release program.

– Alternatives for Girls, Detroit, MI The Street Smart HIV prevention intervention will provide sexual health education to homeless and runaway girls, addressing rape prevention, gender and power dynamics and violence within relationships.

– North Jersey Community Research Initiative (NJCRI), Newark, NJ NJCRI’s “Women Count!” program will target urban African-American women with injection drug-using partners, combining group HIV/AIDS prevention education workshops with risk reduction activities.

– Gaston County Health Department, Gastonia, NC My Children, My Sisters, Myself, a workshop series focusing on women’s roles as family health gatekeepers will help low-income women explore relationships, gain HIV knowledge, and acquire negotiation and empowerment skills.

– Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive (HIPS), Washington, D.C. Through the Street Sense project, HIPS will adapt an existing intervention to help African-American sex workers reduce drug use and sex-related risky behaviors.

РLa Cl?­nica del Pueblo, Washington, D.C. Latina women at risk for violence within their relationships will participate in Entre Amigas, an intervention program addressing sexual health and domestic violence prevention.

About National AIDS Fund

It is the mission of the National AIDS Fund to reduce the incidence and impact of HIV/AIDS by promoting leadership and generating resources for effective community responses to the epidemic. Through a growing network of 31 state and local funding collaboratives its Community Partnerships the Fund provides grants and technical support to over 400 community-based organizations annually; the Fund has raised and invested over $134 million since 1988 for the fight against HIV/AIDS in the United States. Please visit aidsfund for additional information.

About Johnson & Johnson

Johnson & Johnson is the world’s most comprehensive and broadly based manufacturer of health care products, as well as a provider of related services, for the consumer, pharmaceutical, and medical devices and diagnostics markets. The more than 200 Johnson & Johnson operating companies employ approximately 122,000 men and women and sell products throughout the world. Through its philanthropy, Johnson & Johnson currently supports more than 100 HIV/AIDS programs around the world, with a focus on partnering with communities to prevent infection and to support women in caring for their families.



Johnson & Johnson

Charity Calls On Political Parties To Address Social Care Failings – Alzheimer’s Society

Alzheimer’s Society is calling for political party election manifestos to address serious failings in dementia care.

The charity’s survey of nearly 1,500 carers and people with dementia found major concerns about the standards of care being provided. Only 23 per cent of respondents said all their care needs were met while less than a quarter (24 per cent) felt staff providing care had the skills and understanding necessary. Only 12 per cent of carers always had access to short breaks.
Further Alzheimer’s Society research revealed MPs believe dementia needs more attention from political parties. Eighty one per cent of 150 MPs surveyed said they believe a long term settlement for the funding of social care needs to be a high priority for their party. Sixty seven per cent also agreed the system for charging for essential care such as washing and dressing places an unfair burden on people with dementia.

Neil Hunt, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Society, says,

‘It is unacceptable for a care service to be failing such a vulnerable group to such a staggering degree. There are currently 700,000 people in the UK living with dementia. This number will increase to more than a million within 20 years. The vast majority of these people will need some level of social care so it is vital we have a robust system in place that meets their needs.

‘It has been reassuring to hear the political parties talking about adult social care this year but now with an election imminent we need more detail. MPs have told us this is an important issue but we now need to hear guarantees on how each of the parties would provide a fair, transparent and high quality social care system. This must explain how they will develop a social care system that is fit for tomorrow but also how it addresses failings today.’

To coincide with these research findings, Alzheimer’s Society has published three demands for what it wants to see from political parties in their election manifestos. These are:

Details of how they will develop a quality care service. This must include guarantees that every person with dementia: can expect trained professionals who understand how to deliver quality care and support to people with dementia; can expect the NHS and social care service to work closely to support people to live their lives as independently as possible and with their carers can receive the care and support they need to live well at any stage of their journey.

A guarantee that Attendance Allowance will not be scrapped – This is an invaluable benefit that gives people with the dementia and their carers the choice, flexibility and control to shape their own care. Alzheimer’s Society research found overwhelming opposition to the idea of abolishing Attendance Allowance and moving the money into care services.

Dementia research made a higher priority. Dementia research is drastically underfunded. The government invests eight times less in dementia research than cancer research. Developing new treatments has the potential to significantly reduce the number of people with dementia.

Existing research expenditure needs to be reallocated to ensure dementia research receives the same investment as other major conditions.

Members of the public can play their part by writing to their prospective parliamentary candidates and asking them to raise the issue with their parties. They can also join Alzheimer’s Society’s campaigners’ network. To find out more visit here.

Alzheimer’s Society

New Medicare Items For Autism Spectrum Disorders, Australia

The Prime Minister has announced that the Commonwealth Government will provide $190 million in funding over five years to assist children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), their parents and carers.

This funding includes $20.7 million over five years for new Medicare items for the diagnosis of ASD and early intervention treatment plans by clinicians and allied health professionals.

Specifically, these will include:

- new specialist Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) items for paediatricians and child psychiatrists for diagnosis and the development of treatment plans for children aged up to 12 years;

- new items for developmental psychologists and speech pathologists to assist with aspects of the assessment; and

- access to Medicare items for the provision of early intervention treatment following diagnosis for children with ASD, providing up to 20 services per child. The new services will be provided by relevant allied health professionals including speech pathologists and occupational therapists.

Treatment plans will identify the specific treatment needs of each child in relation to early intervention services available through the Government’s autism package and through other public, private and community based services.

Prompt and accurate diagnosis of children with ASD means that children can gain most benefit from treatment and support in their critical early years. These items should improve early and accurate diagnosis of ASD as well as improve access to early intervention to help children with ASD.

Details of the new Medicare items will be developed in close consultation with members of the relevant health professional organisations as well as representatives of the autism sector. The new items will be available from 1 July 2008.

Study To Follow Pregnant Women To Better Understand Causes, Early Signs Of Autism

NIH and the advocacy group Autism Speaks are enrolling 1,200 pregnant women who have other children with autism spectrum disorders to participate in a large study that aims to identify early signs of the condition and its possible causes, the Wall Street Journal reports. Women who participate in the study — known as the Early Autism Risk Longitudinal Investigation, or EARLI, study — will be monitored throughout their pregnancies, and their infants will be monitored until age three. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in 150 children in the U.S. has an autism spectrum disorder, which includes autism, Asperger’s syndrome and pervasive developmental disorders. The study will focus on women who already have one child with an autism spectrum disorder because such women have a higher chance of having another child with the condition. Craig Newschaffer, the study’s lead investigator and a department chair at Philadelphia’s Drexel University School of Public Health, said, “By studying families who are already affected by autism, we feel we have the best chance at learning how genetics and environmental factors could work together to cause autism.” Autism usually is characterized by social interaction and communication impairments, as well as unusual interests or behaviors. Although there is no cure for autism, its symptoms can be improved through therapy and medication, the Journal reports.

According to Newschaffer, researchers throughout the study will collect blood and urine for DNA analysis. Samples also will be collected from the umbilical cord, placenta and meconium — the infant’s first stool — after birth. Infants born during the study will be provided with a series of developmental assessments, and older siblings with autism also could receive assessments to confirm their diagnosis (Corbett Dooren, Wall Street Journal, 6/9).

Reprinted with kind permission from nationalpartnership. You can view the entire Daily Women’s Health Policy Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery here. The Daily Women’s Health Policy Report is a free service of the National Partnership for Women & Families, published by The Advisory Board Company.

© 2009 The Advisory Board Company. All rights reserved.

California Has 4,017 Cases Of Whooping Cough (pertussis) And 9 Deaths

The California Department of Public Health announced that there have been 4,017 confirmed, probable and suspect cases of whooping cough (pertussis) reported in the state so far this year, up to September 14 – a state rate of 10.3 cases per 100,000 people. The number of weekly reported cases has dropped slightly recently, with 183 new cases this week and 234 cases the week before.

The last time so many cases were reported was in 1955, with 4,949 cases. The current incidence of whopping cough is the highest since 1962, when it reached 10.9 cases per 100,000 people. The previous peak in total reported cases was in 2005 (3,182 cases).

Of the reported cases, health authorities say 65% are confirmed, 20% are probable and 15% are suspect.

Authorities say 11.2% of infected patients have been hospitalized. 57% of those hospitalized were infants (vey young babies).

Of the 9 deaths reported so far:

8 were Hispanic infants
8 were infants aged less than two months at the time of disease onset
None of the 8 infants less than two months old had received any doses of pertussis-containing vaccine
1 was an ex-28 week premature baby who was 2 months old at the onset of the disease who had received the first dose of DTaP 15 days before becoming ill.

Health authorities inform that of the babies who have caught whooping cough, the majority are infants aged three months or less.

The incidence of whooping cough (pertussis) is highest among babies aged up to six months – 184 cases per 100,000; in children aged 7-9 years – 33 cases per 100,000; and adolescents aged 10-18 – 24 cases per 100,000.

Most adolescent cases are aged 10 or 11 years.
What is whooping cough (pertussis)?
Pertussis, also known as whooping cough is an extremely contagious respiratory disease, caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. The patient typically has an uncontrollable and violent cough, which may cause breathing difficulties.

After fits of several coughs, the whooping cough patient will often need to take deep breaths which can make a whooping sound. Pertussis coughing fits can last for up to 10 weeks or more; hence its nickname, the 100 day cough.

Infants and young children are especially susceptible to complications of whooping cough. Very young babies are more vulnerable to the fatal complications of the diseases.

The best way to protect yourself form pertussis is to take the vaccination. There are vaccines for children, teens and adults. The childhood vaccine is called DTaP, while the booster vaccine for adolescents and adults is called Tdap.

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), there are 30-50 million cases of pertussis and about 300,000 deaths per year worldwide.

Since the 1980s, the number of reported cases of pertussis in the USA has been increasing, especially among 10-19 year olds and infants aged less than 6 months.

Over 50% of babies less than 1 year old who become infected need to be hospitalized.

According to Medilexicon’s medical dictionary:

Pertussis is An acute infectious inflammation of the larynx, trachea, and bronchi caused by Bordetella pertussis; characterized by recurrent bouts of spasmodic coughing that continues until the breath is exhausted, then ending in a noisy inspiratory stridor (the “whoop”) caused by laryngeal spasm.

Sources: CDC, California Department of Public Health. Medilexicon’s medical dictionary

Pertussis Report – California – September 14, 2010.

Children Whose Maternal Grandmother Smoked While Pregnant Have Increased Risk of Asthma, Study Says

A child whose maternal grandmother smoked while pregnant with the child’s mother has an increased risk of developing asthma, according to a study published in the April issue of the journal… Chest, the Scripps Howard/Arizona Daily Star reports. Dr. Frank Gilliland, a professor of preventive medicine at the University of Southern California, and colleagues interviewed the parents or guardians of 908 children participating in a long-term health study that included young people in grades four, seven and 10. By age five, 338 of the children had developed asthma, and the other 570 were asthma-free (Scripps Howard/Arizona Daily Star, 4/12). Compared with children whose mothers and grandmothers did not smoke during pregnancy, children of women whose mothers and grandmothers smoked during pregnancy were 2.6 times as likely to have developed asthma by age five. Children whose mothers smoked during pregnancy but whose grandmothers did not smoke and children whose maternal grandmothers smoked but whose mothers did not smoke were 1.5 times and 1.8 times, respectively, as likely to have developed asthma as children whose mothers and grandmothers did not smoke (BBC News, 4/11). According to the researchers, tobacco smoke exposure in utero could damage a fetus’s DNA and reproductive cells, leading to “harmful effects” for “generations,” the Scotsman reports (Innes, Scotsman, 4/12). “This is the first study to show that if a woman smokes while she is pregnant, both her children and grandchildren may be more likely to have asthma as a result,” Gilliland said, adding, “The findings suggest that smoking could have a longer-lasting impact on families’ health than we had ever realized” (UPI/Washington Times, 4/12). Gilliland also said that the findings were “unexpected and novel” and that additional research is needed to confirm the results. “We’re just starting to understand these things,” he said, adding, “We need to really focus resources on this” (Bakalar, New York Times, 4/12).

“Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork kaisernetwork. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork/dailyreports/repro The Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report is published for kaisernetwork, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation . ¬© 2005 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

Cystic Fibrosis Gene Typo Is A Double Whammy

An imbalance of salt and water in patients with cystic fibrosis makes their lungs clog up with sticky mucus that is prone to infection. The cause of the offending imbalance is a well-known genetic error, one that blocks the molecular expressway for tiny chloride ions to move across the surface of the lungs.

But how does that same gene mutation upset a parallel roadway controlling the flow of the other component of salt, sodium ions? Now, researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine have found the answer, demonstrating that the gene mutated in cystic fibrosis not only controls traffic on the chloride highway, but also keeps the sodium highway from being overused.

The finding suggests that the infamous mutation – in a gene called CFTR – is a double whammy, affecting the flow of two different ions that are important to keep the mucus on the surfaces of the airways hydrated. Clarifying this link between the genetic defect and the thick sticky mucus in cystic fibrosis lungs could help researchers develop better therapies.

“It is very important to slow down this sodium channel when it is overactive before it leads to dehydration of the mucus in patient airways,” said Martina Gentzsch, PhD, assistant professor of cell and developmental biology at UNC and lead author of a study published Oct. 15 in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. “If we can understand the mechanism of how CFTR does that, it might give us a new approach to treat the disease.”

Cystic fibrosis is one of the most common genetic diseases in Caucasians, affecting approximately 1 in 3500 births in the United States. It is caused by a defect in the gene that codes for a protein called cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator or CFTR. Cystic fibrosis patients with the most severe disease have very little of the CFTR protein, and this affects the way chloride ions move across many tissues in the body. A number of scientists have hypothesized that CFTR also controls the movement of other ions, such as through the epithelial sodium channel or ENaC.

This channel has been shown to be overactive in transporting sodium ions in the airways of cystic fibrosis patients, so Gentzsch and her colleagues set out to determine why. First, they looked at the effects of the CFTR gene on the sodium channel in xenopus oocytes, commonly known as frog eggs. They found that when the CFTR gene was intact, the sodium channel was kept in check.

The researchers followed up with a number of biochemical and electrophysiological experiments and showed that the chloride channel and the sodium channels interact. Gentzsch and her colleagues also confirmed their results in human primary airway epithelial cells from healthy volunteers and patients with cystic fibrosis, showing that the sodium channel was in fact more active when there was no functional CFTR.

Now that they know that the chloride channel can actually influence the function of the sodium channel, Gentzsch is trying to find out how.

“We don’t know if it is doing this by basically acting like a roadblock, physically interfering with the proteases that activate ENaC, or if it is doing it by some indirect means,” said Gentzsch. “That is what we are investigating at the moment, so there are a lot of more questions to be answered.”

The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health and performed at the Cystic Fibrosis/Pulmonary Research and Treatment Center at the University of North Carolina, which also receives funding from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Study co-authors include Richard C. Boucher, MD, director of the Cystic Fibrosis/Pulmonary Research and Treatment Center; and M. Jackson Stutts, PhD, professor of medicine.


University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine

Louisiana Governor Discusses Health In State Of The State Address

In her March 27 speech, Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco (D) said that providing “access to health care and safe communities” would be necessary to improve the living situations of Louisianans during the recovery effort since Hurricane Katrina. She also highlighted the federal government’s release of $769 million in Medicare funding, $383 million of which is earmarked for health care workers who provided services at no cost to uninsured residents after the hurricane. The governor said she will work with HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt to ensure that the funding will become a long-term commitment to aid Louisiana in its effort to “finance a redesigned health care delivery system” (Babineaux Blanco speech text, 3/27).

“Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork/dailyreports/healthpolicy. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation . © 2005 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

New Website To Help Combat Trauma Of Natural Disasters

Lessons learned from natural disasters, including the Black Saturday bushfires, Asian Tsunami and Hurricane Katrina, have helped shape a new web portal aimed at combating the psychological effects of large-scale emergencies, which will be launched this evening in Sydney by the Hon Mark Butler MP, Minister for Mental Health and Ageing.

The Psychosocial Support in Disasters web portal provides health professionals working with disaster-affected individuals and communities with a step-by-step guide to disaster response and the psychological implications at each stage from Preparation through to Response and Recovery.

It is a joint initiative of the Australian Psychological Society, the Australian Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health, Occupational Therapy Australia, the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, the Australian Association of Social Workers, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and General Practice Victoria.

‘A coordinated approach enhances disaster response and this website brings all the latest and most vital information from across the key agencies together in one place in an easily accessible format,’ President of the Australian Psychological Society Professor Bob Montgomery said.

He said Australia was home to many of the world’s leading disaster experts, many of whom had contributed their expertise to the site.

‘Australia is very vulnerable to natural disasters and there are few communities that wouldn’t be exposed to a natural disaster of some kind at some time so increasing the ability of our communities to prepare for, and recover from, disasters is a priority,’ Professor Montgomery said.

Emergency response as outlined on the website is most effective when focussed on preparation, response and recovery. The first step lies in helping those in disaster-prone areas to prepare psychologically, which assists them to stay calm if disaster strikes and effectively implement their disaster plan. The second step involves practical support during the emergency and then, finally, providing social, emotional and psychological support in the recovery stage.

Professor Montgomery said recent disaster experience had shown that people could be assisted to manage the ongoing emotional effects of a disaster such as worry, distress, anger, insomnia and sadness, and to recover more rapidly by using strategies developed by disaster experts which can be taught by health professionals – all of which are outlined on the site.

Professor Montgomery said: ‘Human beings are very resilient. We know that for the majority psychological recovery can be facilitated with the right support. We now need to ensure that health professionals, whom communities turn to in times of need, have the skills and resources to support the natural recovery process.’


Australian Psychological Society